The FBI says an armed Missouri man responsible for breaching a secured area of an Amtrak train and pulling the emergency brakes has ties to a neo-Nazi group and expressed interest in “killing Black people.”
Taylor Michael Wilson, 26, has been charged with terrorism attacks and other forms of violence against railroad carriers and mass transportation systems, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. According to court documents unsealed Wednesday, Jan. 3, the agency said there was probable cause to believe that electronic devices and firearms Wilson owned ” … have been used for [or] obtained in anticipation of engaging in or planning to engage in criminal offenses against the U.S.”
Wilson was a passenger aboard a train traveling from California to Illinois on Oct. 22, 2017, when he broke into the restricted area and began toggling with the controls, triggering the brakes, Special Agent Monte Czaplewski wrote in an affidavit. An assistant conductor rushed to the control room to find Wilson in the engineer’s seat. He and others managed to subdue and hold Wilson until authorities arrived.
Of the 175 passengers aboard, no one was injured. The train stopped in Oxford, Nebraska a little after 2 a.m.
Czaplewski wrote that Wilson was found with a loaded .38-caliber handgun tucked in his waistband, a “speed loader” in his pocket and a business card from the National Socialist Movement, one of the most well-known neo-Nazi organizations in the nation. He also had a knapsack with three more speed loaders, ammunition and a knife, among other items.
In December, the FBI also searched Wilson’s Missouri home and discovered “a tactical vest, 11 AR-15 (rifle) ammunition magazines with approximately 190 rounds of .223 ammunition … white supremacy paperwork/documents, gunpowder, ammunition-reloading supplies and a pressure plate.” Czaplewski said they also found 15 firearms, PDF files on Wilson’s phone of a white supremacist banner and documents detailing how to kill people.
An acquaintance contacted by the FBI said Wilson started behaving strangely in recent months and joined an alt-right group he found on the internet. Agents believe he even traveled with the group to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., last summer.
Another informant told the agency that Wilson had expressed interest in “killing Black people” and other nonwhites, and they believe he could be linked to an April 2016 road rage incident where a man pointed a gun at an African-American woman for no obvious reason while driving on Interstate 70, Czaplewski said.
Wilson is currently in federal custody.